Cascade Conversation – Listening across the Spectrum

May 1, 2014

Cascade Conversation – Listening across the Spectrum

As part of the process for discussing same sex relationships throughout the Church, a Cascade Conversation – Listening across the Spectrum – took place in Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry on 29-30 April.  About 60 people were present in Pitlochtry for the two day meeting. The participants met in small facilitated groups.  At the conclusion of the meeting, each of groups (there were six groups in total) offered a short statement they would wish to be communicated that would reflect their experience of the Cascade Conversation.  These six statements are as follows:

“We value the respectful nature of the conversation we have had and would hope that as the process continues the tone remains as important as the content of the outcome.”

“Open and fruitful conversations across serious differences were held and we hope that these can continue as the church responds to the changing law as regards marriage.”

“The design group has offered us a process of conversation to use in these two days which we fully commend to be used as widely in the Church as possible: for people to come together to speak and listen using appropriate language to grow in understanding.  We feel that we came away from the conversation with some fears and negative feelings allayed and with a sense of hopeful optimism for the way in which the Church together can deal with this issue.”

“This group wants to affirm the overwhelming  importance of good, open searching conversation and engagement in clarifying the profound differences among us and between us , and yet holding us in communion, holding us in that perfect love which casts out fear. But we are left asking what the institutional manifestation of that looks like, how do we move toward an outcome which we can all recognise and live with and affirm as God’s will for us.”

“We heard people rather than positions.  In the future can we stretch the tent to keep all within?”

“Our respectful listening to each other led to the uncomfortable realisation of how difficult and painful our view can be for other people.  We hope that the future conversations/events which must now take place will continue in the respect-filled tone we have found helpful and will lead to outcomes within an agreed timeline.”

Towards the close of the Cascade Conversation, the participants met in diocesan groups to consider how the experience of the meeting in Pitlochry might be cascaded more widely.

At the closing Eucharist,  the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church delivered a homily which can be read here.